Catalina Island Day Trip

03/02/2016 2 Comments

Since I am visiting San Diego this weekend (finally! so excited!), I thought I would blog about one of the other SoCal trips I took last year. I’ve been living in Los Angeles part time for the past 5 years and I’ve made it a point to explore as much of the surrounding areas as possible.


I finally made it to Catalina Island (of the coast of LA) at the end of last summer. Ah, it was everything! It was so cute and the whole town of Avalon was walkable. It was like having a tropical/European vaca in the middle of the summer in the United States! I even got to sleep in my own bed after the day was done 🙂

IMG_0083 Catalina Island Day Trip things to do

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your Catalina Day Trip:

  • Take the ferry. So my roommate and I took the Catalina Island Express from San Pedro (It is also available out of Long Beach)  and I was able to use my AAA card for a discount on our roundtrip tickets. Make sure to book at least a week in advance to get a better departure and return time, you want to maximize your time if you are going for one day! It takes about an hour both ways to get there. Proceed with caution if you are prone to seasickness, dramamine will be your best friend. The ride is beautiful but it does take you out in the ocean so just remember to bring whatever will make you comfortable on the boat.
  • Book chairs ahead of time at Descano Beach Club. Ok this might not be for everyone but it was completely worth it! After our ferry ride we decided to walk straight through Avalon and go enjoy the beach for most of the day. We knew that we would rather explore the town on our way out. catalina island descanso beach clubWe booked chairs ahead of time which I believe were $75 for two and came with bottled water all day, towels, wifi, and a yummy fruit smoothie upon arrival. The beach itself is rocky so bring water shoes or flip flops you don’t care about ruining. You can purchase inner tubes and do a little shopping at the different huts they have within the beach club area. There is a bar and it was pretty fun on a Saturday with a DJ spinning all kinds of music. It was really the place to be on the island for the main part of the day. My roommate and I made friends with some other beach goers who had a boat so we swam out and hung out there for while.

Descanso Beach Club    Smoothie Descanso Beach Club  IMG_0131 IMG_0166

  • Walk around the shops. Around 4pm we passed the casino which is available to those who love to do a little gambling on their vacas 😉 on our way to walk around Avalon. The thing about Catalina a lot people don’t know is everyone drives a golf cart. There is also a trolley available that can take you from town to the Descanso Beach Club but we didn’t think it was necessary as it was a 15 min walk from the harbor to the beach.
  • Go to Dinner at Steve’s!!! Ok so Steve’s Steakhouse was a bit pricey but it was just named #1 on Tripadvisor’s list of restaurants in Avalon for 2016. It was worth the price for the delicious seafood we consumed and since it was a day trip I figured a dinner splurge was in order. Side note: we may or may not have brought in the inner tubes that we bought that day because we wanted them for our pool back at our apartment. sigh #wearecrazyiknow
  • Have dessert at Big Olaf’s. You guys already know I’m all about dessert so when I saw there was an ice cream place across the way from Steve’s I had to stop in. It wasn’t anything fancy or spectacular but it did the job of ending my amazing day with some ice cream (how every dream of mine ends).

After that it was about time to get in line to catch the ferry back around 7:30pm. The ferry ride was pleasant and the whole process went seamlessly. I felt like I saw what Avalon had to offer in one day and enjoyed the weather and beautiful scenery. I would definitely come back for the Catalina Wine Mixer in the fall, Step Brothers anyone?!

Catalina Island Avalon Express Sunset


Let me know in the comments your experience on Catalina Island or if you have any questions:-)


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Cupcake N Dreams

New Yorker blogging about travel and lifestyle things that make me happy!


  1. Reply



    What a great day trip! What else would you suggest to do on the island? Would there be enough to justify a 4 day vacation or is it more of a day trip kind of place?

    • Reply

      Cupcake N Dreams


      I think a 3 to 4 day vacation is enough! It is a small island but there is camping, golfing, zip lines and water tours available to explore the island. There is also a casino and everyone drives golf carts in the town of Avalon, which I thought was pretty funny. You can definitely see most of it in a day as well!